A new chapter: from events to mobility

Niels Peetermans
Sep 15, 2017 · 3 min read

Two years ago I quit my corporate job to pursue a lifelong entrepreneurial dream and co-founded Conversation Starter, an event tech start-up. Together with Rutger Bevers, I set out on a mission to solve matchmaking at business events once and for all (for more information about Conversation Starter, check this article).

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Conversation Starter in action

What a journey it has been. To date, we have facilitated over 20.000 face-to-face meetings at over 130 events across the globe. I’ve heard amazing stories about how our web application has positively impacted people’s lives and their businesses by meeting new partners, employees, customers and even best friends. In the process, we raised a seed round, hired an awesome employee (which has become a good friend in the process) and made the switch from inexperienced first-time founders to real entrepreneurs.

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I’d like to thank Rutger for giving me the opportunity to join him in turning his product vision into reality, our investor Imec.istart and everyone who attributed to the success of Conversation Starter. I’m really proud that we were able to build a viable, profitable business that creates value for both event organizers and attendees. The future is bright for Conversation Starter, with more and more event organizers realizing that an event without a decent networking solution is like an event without food. You just can’t do that anymore!

During the past months, however, I started to feel that my part in the story of Conversation Starter was coming to an end. I am passionate about connecting people but couldn’t find my angle in the event industry. It was then that I started talking with Alexander and Moos from FLAVR, a platform that allows you to buy home-made meals from your neighbors. They had plans to launch a new venture in the shared mobility space and were looking for a hands-on entrepreneur to focus on the operational aspect of the business. The vibe, vision, and timing were right and I immediately felt that I was the right man for the job. I’ve learned in the past years that I’ve become pretty good at creating structure in a chaotic environment and I always had a keen interest in how people would be moving from A to B in the future.

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The Poppy team © Poppy

Starting from today, I am taking on the full-time role as Head of Operations at Poppy, a free-floating car sharing service with a 100% green fleet, launching mid-January 2018 with 350 vehicles in Antwerp. Poppy will be backed by D’Ieteren, combining the resources and knowledge of a market leader in the Belgian automotive industry with the agility and can-do mentality of a startup. I am super excited to shape the future of mobility with an amazing team.

Let’s go! 👊 🚗 💨 🚀

If you would like to stay up-to-date on how we are working on smart mobility for smart cities, keep an eye on poppy.be and like poppy on Facebook.

If you would like to boost networking at your next business event and drastically increase the value for your attendees, be sure to reach out to dries@conversationstarter.net. We have been working hard the past months to ensure a smooth transition and he will be taking care of sales and operations from now on while I will remain an active advisor to the business.

Cheers ✌️

Niels

You can read Alexander’s blogpost here

You can read Michiel’s blogpost here

You can read the Poppy press article here: English version, Dutch version, French version.

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© Poppy
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